Showing posts with label album reviews. Show all posts
Showing posts with label album reviews. Show all posts

The kind of "Infestation" you need

Yeah, we know Steve Benjamin got elected, but there's something more important happening out there that Blogland readers need to know about.

The new RATT album is out - Infestation - and it ROCKS.  Stephen Pearcy's back at the helm of the band, and this album is easily their best work since the 80s - and their first release at all since 1999.

They're hitting the road this summer and fall, and you can bet yours truly will be catching them. I saw their lead singer with his solo band project three years back and it was a great show. Carlos Cavazo, the long-haired blonde guitarist from Quiet Riot, is now with the band as well.

When we're talking about a RATT infestation ... if you have one at your home, this is what it may look and sound like:

Bound to rock you: Overkill's "Ironbound" album

Thirty years ago, a bunch of New Jersey boys shut down a punk rock band and decided to form Overkill, one of the bands that introduced the 80s metal scene to a high-speed frenzied style of metal which became known as "thrash metal".

They've been rocking the world ever since.

I caught them playing live in Charlotte back in 1990, but haven't been able to catch them on tour since then - but not for lack of trying.

Megadeth's "Endgame" CD released today - it ROCKS!

Today, Blogland readers are given a simple, but important mission:

Get online or go to a music store and buy one of this year's best heavy metal releases: Megadeth's new album Endgame, which was released yesterday.

This is album is definitely one of their best albums yet, continuing the great performances in their last two albums: The System has Failed and United Abominations. While there's a lot of good stuff on this album, the song that most impressed me was
44 minutes, which told the story of the infamous 1997 Bank of America robbery and shootout in North Hollywood, California.

The band will be on Jimmy Fallon's show Thursday night, so go catch them rocking out with some of their new material.

The video for the song Headcrusher is inspired by the
Arnold Schwarezenegger movie The Running Man. The video brings up a growing concern (including with yours truly) about how so-called "reality" television programming has helped fuel a mindset similar to the days of Roman gladiators, where spectators' desire to be entertained trumped any ethical or moral considerations about the privacy or human rights of the participants:

Sammy Hagar, Michael Anthony and Joe Satriani release new CD as "Chickenfoot" today

We're not exactly sure what the name means, but four of the best known veterans of rock music have teamed up under the name "Chickenfoot": Sammy Hagar and Michael Anthony from Van Halen, guitar legend Joe Satriani and Chad White from the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

It's a silly name for a band -- and album -- that kicks a donkey's ass six ways to Sunday and back again. Maybe that's because long before the four men who comprise Chickenfoot came together they already filled the pages of rock history with enough individual mind-blowing chapters to boggle the mind.

First, let's consider the stellar line-up. There's Joe Satriani, he of guitar god status, a dream born on the fateful day of September 18, 1970. It was the day Jimi Hendrix died, and it was the same day that Satriani, upon hearing the news, quit his high school football team and decided, at age 14, to devote his life to the electric guitar.

So what about that singer? Well, that would be another guy who needs no introduction; Sammy Hagar, the original "Red Rocker", a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee for his tenure with Van Halen, who made his professional debut as the singer for the much-revered group Montrose during the early 70's. As a replacement for the iconic David Lee Roth, Hagar faced what many would have viewed as an unenviable, if not impossible task, but as Hagar sees it, "I decided I wasn't going to get criticized for being the second singer in the band -- I was going to be the only singer in the band."

A great band is nothing without a great rhythm section, and Chickenfoot has one of the best in the two-man team of bassist Michael Anthony and drummer Chad Smith.

As a founding member (and fellow Rock and Roll Hall of Famer) of Van Halen, Anthony laid the bedrock for which guitar genius Eddie Van Halen could fly. More than that, he provided a signature style of background vocal that became an intrinsic part of that band. "A total fluke," the good-natured bassist humbly asserts. "I was just doing what came naturally."

Aiding Anthony in holding down the fort is Chad Smith, drummer for the Red Hot Chili Peppers, who have, since Smith joined the group in the late Eighties, gone from cult faves to a worldwide force. Heretofore thought of as a "funk/alternative" drummer, Smith gets to rock hard with Chickenfoot, and the percussion explosion he creates might come as a surprise to those who only know of his work from tracks like Under The Bridge.

Their album hits the streets today. While it only makes sense to trust a lineup like this, those of you with little faith can preview tracks from the album.

The Devil You Know: Dio and Black Sabbath ROCK!

Today is a major holiday here in the Blogland with the release of "The Devil You Know", the new album from the Dio-led Black Sabbath line-up, billing itself as Heaven and Hell.

We've previewed the new album and it ROCKS!!! Those who listened to the three new tracks they recorded for the "Black Sabbath: The Dio Years" compilation and/or have seen them on tour know these guys are still at the top of their game.

Rest assured this album is a heavyweight release worthy of a day off from work and at least a six pack of something cold, which is exactly what the Blogland has in mind for today. Download it or find a music store - but this album is worth dropping anything else you might have planned today to buy and listen to.

We suggest as loud as possible. There's no other way to enjoy these guys.

Check out the first song release from the new album, "Bible Black":

Rob Halford's Metal "Resurrection"

After a long streak of thoughtful and profound postings, it's time for something a little less political. Since yours truly will be busy doing safety compliance site visits and teaching First Aid and CPR to employees today and tomorrow, it seems like a good time to start getting back to the heavy metal album reviews that inspired some of our readers to throw up clenched fists and call out "Blogland" when we've seen them over the last couple of years ...

At the end of a long musical journey that lasted throughout the 1990s, where he left Judas Priest in a rambling solo journey which turned in a number of music directions, in 2000, Rob Halford returned to his metal roots with his kick-ass solo 2000 album, very fittingly entitled “Resurrection”.

While I couldn't find any YouTube stuff that links to anything from this album, here's a link to a video of him performing the Judas Priest classic "Delivering the Goods" with Skid Row:

A bit ironic that since this, Halford's band wanted him back and Skid Row has moved on without Sebastian Bach, ain't it?

Rush's "Moving Pictures"

As was promised to some lawyers the other day (we really did), it's gonna be a little quiet here in the Blogland for the next couple of weeks. A thesis, a couple of technical proposals and an upcoming conference will keep us quite busy.

So, if we can't take the time to discuss real news, we'll just throw out an album review of "Moving Pictures" by Rush. This album is a kick-ass piece of rock and roll that belongs in everyone's album collection.

Those of you who are old enough will remember two early 80s rock radio staples: "Tom Sawyer" and "Limelight". If you didn't crank the audio up to full-blast to those songs (or still want to) ... well, we feel sorry for you.

Red Barchetta tells a tale of a future where personal cars are forbidden, except for a young rebel who takes a ride in his uncle's long-concealed red Barchetta. YYZ is an instrumental which taps out the morse code spelling of YYZ. For those of you who don't know (we're willing to bet that Moye does), YYZ is the airport designation for Toronto's international airport.

At any rate, we're gonna get back to an action-packed week. But if you want to make your week a little better, this is an album that will do the trick.

The System has Failed: Megadeth that works

In many album reviews here in the Blogland, we look at those surviving 80s hair bands who continue cranking out solid material, even with a fraction of the album sales and concert attendance numbers of their heyday. Megadeth's 2004 The System has Failed album is more proof that an 80s band two decades removed from their heyday does NOT have to suck.

Believe it or not, a clip from one of the songs on that album, "Die Dead Enough" is my cell phone's main ring tone.

If it's good enough for my cell phone, it's good enough for your album collection. Go buy it.

Here's a YouTube clip of the song so good it's on my cell phone:

... and live footage of "Something I'm Not", from their Gigantour 2005.

The Pretenders' debut album

In what is sure to be a bit of a puzzling sidetrack from our usual fare of heavy metal album reviews, we're going to share one of our Christmas presents with you: the Rhino Records re-release of the 1980 debut self-titled album by The Pretenders.

This album featured the original, but short-lived, lineup of Chrissie Hynde, James Honeyman-Scott, Martin Chambers, and Pete Farndon. The video for Brass in Pocket received a lot of play in the early days of MTV, helping the band build a strong following in the United States, the homeland of lead singer Hynde.

The Pretenders, along with The Police and Elvis Costello, came up in the era of the British punk revolution. Like the punk bands, the Pretenders turned back the clock to the original blues and rockabilly influences of rock, but then went forward in a different direction than the UK punk bands.

Like the punk bands of their time, every song feels real and genuine, with a straight-on attitude. Unlike those bands, a lot of different directions are explored throughout the album, and one can easily pick out a wide range of influences, including punk, blues, 70s guitar rock, reggae, and rockabilly.

It's a solid piece of work, and if you're interested in slowing down a little bit, this is a CD well-worth buying. The re-release contains a second disc of outtakes, demos and live versions of cuts from the album, so spend a little more and get the whole enchilada.

Here are a couple of YouTube clips ...

Brass in Pocket

Tattooed Love Boys

Boarding the Mothership with Led Zeppelin

We normally don't discuss compilation albums here in the Blogland, nor do we typically waste our own time and money on such things. For music fans, they are often a lame way to squeeze more sales out of the same old stuff we've already heard.

But there are rare exceptions to that rule. Led Zep's "Mothership" 2 CD set is one of them.

On this album, you get a good slice of classic Led Zeppelin, from the beginning to the end, remastered by Jimmy Page himself. So you get something that sounds cleaner and a little better than anything else you've previously bought.

We enjoyed cranking this up in the car all the way home the other night, so that means it's pretty good stuff.

For those of you who are looking for last-minute Christmas present ideas, this may not be the one for those who have everything Led Zeppelin, unless they're obsessed about having everything Led Zep. However, if there's someone you know who you think would like an introduction to some classic hard rock and roll, this two cd set would be the perfect gift.

Sebastian Bach rises with Angel Down

Recently, we’ve seen a lot of acts from the 80s put out some of their best stuff in years – Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, and Warrant are three that we've talked about here in the Blogland. You can easily add Sebastian Bach’s first album in eight years, Angel Down, to the list. This album definitely exceeded expectations and comes across as an outstanding piece of metal that would fit well in anyone’s collection.

Not content to rest on his 80s laurels, his band includes some great new metal talent, including guitarists Metal Mike Chlasciak (Halford) and Johnny Chromatic, bassist Steve DiGiorgio (Death) and drummer Bobby Jarzombek (Painmuseum). The end result is an album that hits you hard from the first track, with a great combination of classic Bach and newer metal influences. There’s not a bad song on this album.

Axl Rose, whose appetite for dysfunction has put his music career into the basement and made Chinese Democracy one of the biggest jokes in metal history, does three songs on the album with Bach. While each of those songs is solid and Axl sounds great, you start to wonder if Axl’s really that hard up to record something, and it hits you – yes, Bach actually has his act together better than Axl. Who’d have ever seen THIS day coming?

Whether you’re an undergrown 80s headbanger like myself, or lean towards today’s faster, darker metal fare, you’ll find this album has plenty of offer. This offering from Sebastian rocks just as hard as anything he’s put out, on the Skids or not. Those of you who miss the old Skid Row days will find this album a heck of a treat, but be warned, it’s no time machine back to the 80s.

In any event, it’s a great piece of metal, so get out there and buy it.

Vains of Jenna's rocks hard on "Lit Up/Let Down"

The last day of the month and here is the last of the three album reviews that we promised to deliver as part of our ROCKtober efforts:

Any band which consider's Motley Crue's Too Fast for Love album their number one musical influence has got to be a great band, and Vains of Jenna, four hard rockin' dudes from ... Sweden ... have got what we're needin'.

Their first album release, Lit Up/Let Down, is a hard, fast, straight-up rock and roll metal gem, in the best LA tradition. From the first track on this album, they hit you hard, hit you fast, and don't let up. You can pick up influences of the Crue, Guns n' Roses, LA Guns, all put together and thrown at you as fast as the early Crue stuff was.

But don't mistake these guys for hair band wanna-be types who are just a cut above some lame cover band. They dish it out with their own style and attitude, building upon the influences of these great bands to come up with their own breed of great metal. This is a must-get album, so shut up and go get it!

In the meantime, check out their live show:

House of 1000 Pleasures

This song was first recorded in the mid 80s by EZO, a short-lived Japanese heavy metal band, and then redone by Loudness, another Japanese metal band formed by several former EZOers.

The most kick-ass opening of a metal song I've ever heard is the first 30-40 seconds of the classic "House of 1000 Pleasures". Go take a look at this You Tube clip:

Libertad: Velvet Revolver Re-loaded

Billed by Sammy Hagar "the best rock and roll band left on the planet", the super-group Velvet Revolver, led by Scott Wieland of Stone Temple Pilots and with three former Guns and Roses members, give us a great second hard-rocking piece of work with their new release "Libertad".

If you wanna know which songs I liked best from the CD ... She Builds Quick Machines, She Mine, and American Man. But there is not a single bad song on this entire album and everyone I've talked to has their favorite songs.

As with the first Velvet Revolver CD, I can't help but wonder why Axl is struggling to put out a single album while most of the REAL former Guns are continuing to tour and put out solid work without any of the drama. These could have been great GnR albums, except Axl's appetite for dysfunction wouldn't allow that.

While we can't do anything about Axl, you can make sure you don't miss out on a great album from a great rock band. Go buy Libertad today.

While you're reading this, here's a You Tube treat - the video for their first release from the album, entitled "She Builds Quick Machines":

The Donnas ROCK with "Bitchin'"

As part of the Blogland's ROCKtober 2007, we promised you a look at three new releases from new bands who carry on the best of the 80s hard rock traditions, but without coming across as a tired cover band ... and as always, we deliver.

First up is one of this year's most important album releases, a great piece of work from The Donnas, a hard-rocking all-female lineup. Everything about this album, from the cover art with an 80s-esque logo to the hard rockin' tunes on the disc, screams great rock and roll with a solid connection to the long tradition of 70s and 80s headbangers.

This quote from an interview on their website explains in words what you'll find in the music about the connection between this album and 80s-era metal:

As for their sound, “We’ve always felt somewhat sceneless,” says Castellano. “But these days, when we go to a metal show I feel like ‘these are our people!’ That’s where I really feel the connection-Motley Crue, Cinderella, Aerosmith, Def Leppard-that’s where I want our band to be.”
The first song on this album, the title track - Bitchin', will hit any real metal fan like a hammer, and before you know it, I promise you'll find yourself listening to the rest of the album cranked all the way UP:

You're gonna listen up
We're gonna take you over
You're gonna lick it up
And you're gonna want more, more, more, more!
This is what it sounds like, When heads roll!
This is what it sounds like, We're all going down!
This is what it sounds like, and you're gonna want more, more, more, more!
More! More! More! So hold on tight!
This is one band that I've gotta go see play live. Even if you've got to skip lunch at work for a week to buy this CD, go out and buy it. You'll be glad you did.

In closing, the usual YouTube eye and ear candy from a live performance:

Dangerous Toys rocks!

From out of Austin, Texas, Dangerous Toys made a splash back in 1989 with their hard-rockin' sleaze metal debut self-titled album. Produced by Max Norman, who produced albums for Loudness, Megadeth and Ozzy Osborne, it went gold and once in a while, a track from this album makes it on Sirius satellite radio's Hair Nation channel.

This is a kick-ass album that if you can find on Ebay easily enough if you look for it, and it's well worth your ten bucks or so to get your hands on it.

While there are a lot of great songs on this album, my favorite tracks are Scared and Queen of the Nile:

She makes me shudder
She makes me shake
At night i think and i want
to take her away
Rainbows are on her face
Visions of tattooed chains
Egyptian rain in my world
A princess on her throne

Queen of the nile
Love me like an earthquake
Queen of the nile
Please let me be
your king

... and we close the review by presenting a YouTube archive of their video for "Scared":

Stand by for Pain: Dee Snider ROCKS with Widowmaker

Ok, time for a break from the serious stuff with another hard rockin' album review ... and a Happy Monday to one and all ...

In the 1990s, Dee Snider, frontman for Twisted Sister, formed the band Widowmaker. In 1994, they released their second album, a kick-ass piece of work entitled
"Stand by for Pain".

Unlike Twisted Sister, Widowmaker is stripped down, raw, and much harder and louder. While Twisted Sister was radio-friendly, Widowmaker isn't for the faint of heart, but is best played at full blast. If you can find this CD out there, I recommend it highly.

My favorite tracks from the album are Killing Time, Protect and Serve, Ready to Fall and the title track.

For the obligatory YouTube eye candy, here's a clip of Dee and his band performing the title track live:

Attention Mike Reino

Hey Mike, while I could not bring myself to buy a Faster Pussycat album to do that review you wanted, my friend Metal Mark did. Go check out his review of their album.

Feel better now?

I heard they just put out a new studio album and might be touring soon. Good news, dude.

United Abominations: Great new Megadeth CD

A few weeks ago, Megadeth released their long-overdue United Abominations CD, fresh from their stint on the Dio-led Heaven and Hell tour. As proof this music is still relevant, it debuted at number eight on the U.S. album sales chart ... fans were waiting for this album, and trust me, they shouldn't be disappointed.

Long known for their left-wing political critiques, in the title track, they suprise fans with a point of view about the irrelevance of the United Nations so far right, you'd swear that Ted Nugent wrote the song:

"The UN writes resolution after resolution and has become irrelevant through inaction and totalitarian paralysis,"
"Order, Order!!!"
"Ha! There is no such thing as order"
"Larry, it's true, reports confirm today that the United Nations has officially closed its doors forever,"
"Well, I just don't see what all the fuss is, because they don't do anything anyway, do they?"

The UN is right; you can't be any more "un"
Than you are right now, the UN is undone
Another mushroom cloud, another smoking gun
The threat is real, the Locust King has come
Don’t tell me the truth; I don't like what they've done
Just give me ammo for the United Abominations

NATO invaded Yugoslavia to end ethnic cleansing, there was no UN
The US invaded Afghanistan after 9/11, there was no UN
Saddam Hussein violated 17 UN resolutions; The UN was asked to join the war in Iraq. The US invaded, Ha! there was no UN
Libya bombed a discotheque in Berlin killing Americans, there was no UN
Iran funds any terrorist organization it can, and attacked the US in the seventies, there was no stinking UN
Facing War without end, looking into the future, there was no more UN

The UN Dispatch, a pro-United Nations blog, felt the need to attack Megadeth's commentary in a posting. Apparently, this guy didn't get it.

Gears of War is another great track, and their re-do of A Tout Le Monde, this time as a duet with Cristina Scabbia, a vocalist with the Italian metal band Lacuna Coil. But why lie? There's not a bad song on the entire album, so stop waiting, and go out and buy it.

For some eye candy, here is a YouTube video of the band performing Gears of War:

WASP goes to Hell ... dorado

Recently, I bought WASP's "Helldorado" CD, which came out in 1999. The band intended the album to be a return to their early roots, capturing the wild and rough-edged feel that made them stand out from much of the LA scene metal bands of the 80s.

Unlike other 80s metal bands which came back, WASP never quit or went away. They continued chugging right along, putting out album after album, with each release sounding as good, if not better, than the one before it. These guys don't know when to quit, and unlike a lot of other bands who slowly lose their creative steam and whose shows consist mostly of the stuff they first played in the 80s, there's no reason they should quit now.

Helldorado is one of those great WASP albums. In this one, the band's songs are of excess - sex, drugs, and a wild rock and roll lifestyle - and the price to be paid for being consumed by such a lifestyle:

Tonight-it's all over now
Ooh, Hell's just one mile down the road
Goodbye-it's all over now (so long)
My Helldorado's going home
Hot wheel's-a-turning
Screaming down the road
The tanks never empty
He fills up with souls
I feel the flame-a-burning
Do you wanna go?


Go get this one ... and before long, you'll be wanting everything else they've recorded. But you can check out this concert footage from a stop in New Jersey last year ...